50 x 50 cm
Screenprint on paper
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
Untitled (P 4/12)
Rudolf Hurni (born 1914 in Studen, Switzerland, died 2003 in Bern, Switzerland) was inspired to create art early in life, but because of his occupation as a graphic designer and sign writer, he was unable to focus solely on art until much later. His first works were paintings of studio interiors, atmospheric pictures of cities and harbors, and (most prominently) still lifes, which were rendered in a classical style, much like the old masters. When he was 50, Hurni had a very inspiring encounter with Giorgio Morandi, and from then on, he began concentrating primarily on still lifes with fruit and occasionally female figures. These works were painted using an impasto oil technique and presented as abstract combinations of forms and colors. Over time, the artist began reducing the plasticity of the fruit, making them immaterial by dissolving their surroundings more and more, rendering the table as a monochromatic plane and the room as a slightly bent line. Several of his still lifes lack all points of perspective, and an atmosphere created by a single hue of color permeates the picture. The more the spatial and three-dimensional elements are reduced, the more the fruit and jars seem to take on a singular quality of floating.
When the artist was almost 70 years old, after an illness forced him to take a hiatus from painting for some time, he gave up figuration altogether and (unexpectedly as much as expectedly) joined the camp of the Zurich Concretes. The focus of his experimentation subsequently shifted to purely geometric forms, which he used as a media for his color compositions. Hurni translated his inner moods into very emotional, delicate paintings with thin layers of acrylic. He mixed colors that are warm or cool, or pastel or gaudy – intense colors that subtly complement each other and are juxtaposed in square, rectangle, and striped sequences. They often cross and overlap, trying to form connections or repel each other, like when purple meets mustard yellow or light green.
In an interview in the “Zürcher Unterländer” (February 22, 1992), Rudolf Hurni said that Constructivist Art “is not a reproduction of our environment, but the translation of inner images. These are the qualities that modern people are looking for.”
Dominique von Burg